The players are gonna remember about 4 scenes from your game. 4 scenes, no more and no less if you're lucky. You want a proof of course, and I'm gonna give you. Think about a movie that you really liked. Let's say "The Dark Night". What do you remember from it? You probably remember the opening scene, with the bank robbery where they kill each other when each one finishes his role. You probably remember the end scene, when Batman saves the day and then is hunted by the cops and dogs. You probably remember also one or 2 scenes from the middle, like the death of Rachel, or maybe it is the scene when the ships are supposed to blow each other?
It's also right in your game. The players are gonna remember about 4 scenes from the game, and they are gonna be probably the 2 most emotional scenes in addition to the opening and closing scenes. This means 2 things:
- We have far less work than we intended or thought that we'll have.
- We want to choose which 2 middle scenes will be remembered.
The first thing is quite straightforward. We have far less work, and we don't need to try to make every scene spectacular and unique. These are the scenes that their whole purpose is to both create and maintain the atmosphere and to create the pattern.
The second thing is quite more interesting. First of all, it talks at only 2 scenes that we have control about, not the whole 4. Secondly, it doesn't state how we can make them remembered. The first and last scenes are gonna be remembered no matter what. Not only that, though, but they are the most important scenes in the game. The agent closes on Trinity; Jack escapes from the guards saying that this is the day that he almost got captured; Vito says that he can't even call him his godfather... And so it is with the end, as another part falls from the spaceship in Firefly at the end of the episode, showing that everything is back to normal; Neo stops the bullet and makes Agent Smith explode... These are the 2 most important scenes in the game.
For the other 2, we can decide. The most remembered scenes follow one of 2 principles: They are very dramatic and emotional (Hamlet gives his famous monologue) or very spectacular (Neo saves Trinity from the falling helicopter). The scenes that are gonna be remembered are probably going to follow a few things:
- They are going to break the pattern. Pattern is created to be broken. Breaking it makes a contrast that makes the breaking scene more powerful and remembered.
- The drama in the scene is going to be high. Even if this is not the most dramatic scene in the story, it's gonna be dramatic.
- It's gonna be a spectacular scene. Same as above, there is going to be a special thing or even in the scene.
- They are gonna include a lot of build up to the scene. Having a perfect scene is not the only thing; you have to build to it.
- They have to fulfil a promise. It doesn't matter what the promise is, whether it's the promise for a fight against the arch villain or a promise for a war council against the neighbour country. There should be a promise, and it should be fulfilled in this scene.
Let's look for example at the battle between Romeo and Tybalt and see how each of these things are fulfilled:
- A pattern is broken: Romeo, who was out of the fights and battles between the 2 families, suddenly enters the conflict with a purpose to kill.
- The drama is high: Romeo comes after his best friend has died by the sword of Tybalt. He is in a conflict also, because Tybalt is now his kinsman. Having a responsibility for his friend death also adds to the drama of his decision to confront Tybalt. But killing Tybalt is not enough. There are witnesses to the event, and the prince is now looking for him. Romeo suddenly loses all of his statues and has to run for his life.
- The scene itself is spectacular. The dialogue is short and powerful, each word is important. The body and soul of Mercutio is still there.
- There's a build up for this scene: Romeo is responsible for Mercutio's death, Tybalt is a short tempered person, he was in the first fight of the play, and he is the one who discovered that Romeo was in the ball... Romeo on the other hand is a peaceful person, and a kinsman to a person from the opposite family.
- The scene fulfils a promise: In the beginning of the play, in the prologue, we already know that it's gonna be tragic. There is no happy ending for anything while our protagonists are still alive. The conflict between the 2 families is all too familiar, and if the protagonists are getting married, the conflict should return to destroy everything. This promise is fulfilled when Romeo kills Tybalt, thus killing the cousin of Juliet (his love) and flaming anew the conflict, on the same time he is sentenced to be exiled. The promise is (almost) fully fulfilled.
And that's it for today. How about you? Do you agree, disagree, something else? How do you create the middle story-peak scenes?